This Saturday will see around 1000 young Scottish musicians come together to showcase their talents and demonstrate their passion and enthusiasm for Gaelic music.
They will feature alongside the top names in traditional music at the biggest event in Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s 30-year history.
With support from the Year of Young People 2018, the Blas Festival, organised by Fèisean nan Gàidheal in partnership with The Highland Council, is providing a platform to showcase outstanding young musical talent in a largescale showcase, Òran Mòr.
Meaning Great (or Big) Song, this musical extravaganza will take place at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness on Saturday, 15 September, featuring young musicians from Fèisean and various youth initiatives from across Scotland including the Highland Council Youth Music Groups and the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music.
One of the highlights of this event will be a brand new Gaelic song written by up-and-coming young Gaelic songwriter, Glasgow-based Gaelic student, Robbie MacLeòid. His song, Bèo an Dòchas (Living in Hope), was written specifically for Òran Mòr and will be sung by all the young people, under the musical direction of Donald Shaw, led by young Gaelic singer, Annia MacGillivray from Tain.
The talented youngsters will share the stage with the bands they have chosen including traditional music supergroups Skipinnish, Trail West and Breabach and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners, Gaelic singer Mischa Macpherson and piper, Brìghde Chaimbeul.
Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People said: ‘Young people have been at the heart of the Blas Festival for over 14 years. It is fantastic to have the new Òran Mòr flagship event this year, which will give them an even bigger platform to showcase their talents, as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People.
‘The Blas Festival is a truly unique event for all ages to connect and enjoy Gaelic and our Scottish traditions and heritage. Not only will there be young people performing but they have been at the centre of planning and delivery for this year’s festival. I look forward to attending to seeing it all come to life.’
This year Blas has introduced some other exciting opportunities for young people to perform, design and deliver some of the main festival events, including a youth steering group which has worked with the festival board to provide ideas and act as ambassadors for the festival.
Alix Aburn, a Blas Festival Youth Ambassador said: ‘Blas Festival provides a great platform for young musicians like myself to perform at different venues across Scotland with some of the top traditional musicians on the Scottish music scene right now and this year in particular with it being the Year of Young People, it has been fantastic to be involved in the performing side of things but also be on the Blas Festival youth steering group which meant I was involved from the start of the festival preparation.’
Blas Festival, which aims to celebrate Gaelic culture and the thriving Scottish traditional music scene over nine days of concerts, cèilidhs and larger events in venues across the Highlands and Islands, has introduced some other exciting opportunities for young people to perform, design and deliver some of the main festival events.
Fèisean nan Gàidheal supports 47 tuition-based Fèisean that offer tuition in traditional Gaelic arts to young people across Scotland. For over 35 years, the Fèisean have been tutoring young people in traditional music, Gaelic song and Gaelic drama with around 6000 young people annually taking part in such tuition. With education work, audiences for Fèisean events and other projects the organisation reaches approximately 70,000 people every year and that figure rises to 450,000 when television appearances and YouTube hits are taken into account.
With 35 events and well over 1000 musicians performing, this year’s Blas Festival promises to deliver yet another music filled nine days.
For the full programme and details of how to purchase tickets, visit www.blas-festival.com. Discounted tickets for Young Scot cardholders are also available.